Extra police on Jerusalem streets after attack

July 23, 2008 12:00 am

, JERUSALEM, July 23  – Extra police were on the streets of Jerusalem on Wednesday, the day after a bulldozer driver attacked several vehicles and injured 16 people before being shot dead, an officer said.

Security concerns were also high because of the visit of US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who arrived on Tuesday night for an intense day of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

"We have deployed signficant numbers (of police) in Jerusalem, particularly around construction sites, to prevent the repetition of such attacks," police Major Bruno Stein told public radio.

"Since last night, we have taken adequate measures, particularly by systematically checking the identities of employees on these sites."

Tuesday’s attack was by a Palestinian construction worker from occupied east Jerusalem who copied one just three weeks ago, in which another worker killed three people and wounded 30 others when he rammed a bulldozer into buses and cars before being shot dead.

Stein said the "recent attacks carried out in Jerusaolem were the work of isolated individuals and not organisations."

For his part, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit told the radio that "sanctions should be applied against the families of terrorists in cases where it is proved that they collaborated in attacks, or did nothing to stop them."

There was a host of calls for the house of the last attacker to be demolished. Such a retribution has not been ruled out, and is currently being studied by legal officials.

Sheetrit also said that "if it is determined that there is a real tendency among Palestinian workers from east Jerusalem to use heavy equipment to perpetrate attacks, then replacements (for them) should be found in Israel."

Security sources quoted by the Haaretz said there have five major attacks in Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, claiming the lives of 12 Israelis.

That came as, during the first six months, police arrested 71 Palestinians from east Jerusalem suspected of involvement in attacks, compared with only 37 for all of 2007.

Some 250,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem. They are issued with Israeli identity cards, which allows them to circulate freely throughout the country and to work there, as well as enjoy such social benefits as unemployment compensation and family allowances.



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